How can I tell if my car has hail damage?
After ANY hail storm, there is always the possibility that your vehicle has suffered hail damage. But how can I tell if I have hail damage? There are different situations that will help indicate how much hail damage you might have and where to look for the damage.
Hail storms can come on fast and hit hard. Sometimes a hailstorm will last only a few minutes where others can go on for 15 minutes. The duration of the storm doesn’t matter as much as the size of the hail.
Driving in hailstorms on the highway
The first thing you should do if caught in a hailstorm while away from your home or office is to pull-over and find shelter. If visibility is greatly diminished, just pull-over and wait it out. If you are on the highway, everyone from a few miles ahead and behind to the drivers just a few feet ahead of you are looking for shelter. They might be trying to get under an overpass or pull off at the nearest exit in search of protection. If none of these options are available, pulling over is always the safest option. Always remember, if there is hail – there is a good chance there will be high wind speeds or even a tornado. Being close to a ditch where you can run for cover is very important in a situation that involves a tornado. Being worried about dent damage should be the least of your concerns.
Steps to take AFTER a hailstorm:
- Get to safety. If you are close to an overpass, a highway overpass, public parking garage or gas stations – get there as soon as you can.
- Pull over. If you are on the highway with no safety in sight, pull your vehicle COMPLETELY over. Remember, visibility might be bad and there will ALWAYS be those few people that think that driving in hail is no big deal. Stay IN your vehicle.
- Duck and cover. Glass windows might shatter. If you have a coat or blanket, lay down on the seat and cover yourself. If you can get on the floor (this is a great option for children), even better. If not, cover your children with your body and make sure their eyes are protected.
- Tune-In. Once the hailstorm is completely over, this doesn’t mean the storm is finished. If you live in an area that is prone to tornado’s, turn on your radio or check for warnings on your mobile devise.
- Check for hail damage. Damage will be hard to identify right after the storm. Your panels will likely be covered with rain and hard to get a good look at. Get back on the highway and head to a gas station. Pull under the car port where there is complete shade and start your inspection. Start at the hood and go down one side, around the back bumper and trunk, and then back around the other side doors and back to the hood. Then inspect the hood. If you have a pen and paper, take note of the damages you find. If you have a mobile devise with a camera, snap some picture.
- Call your insurance company. If you find damage, contact your insurance company as soon as possible. If you didn’t find any hail damage but still have concerns, call your insurance company.